Market Watch: Navigating the Rental Market

I have had the pleasure of working with Joy for the past 2 1/2 years.  I assist Joy in many aspects of her real estate business, but one area of specialty is handling and navigating the Toronto rental market. It is surprising how many inquires we get on a weekly basis about rentals, so I have put together an update on the Toronto rental market.

The Toronto rental market mirrors what is happening in the housing market- the good inventory goes fast! That combined with a shortage of quality long term rentals has pushed monthly rents to an all time high. Speaking from experience, 2 of our last 3 rentals have leased 5 to 10 percent over the asking price in a matter of days! A lot of the properties currently for rent, have been purchased by builders looking to only rent short term as they wait for drawings and permits. I find most families who are looking to rent want at least a 1 year rental term with the chance to renew. Often these families are looking to settle in good school districts while they save money for a down payment to own in the area.

However, the condo rental market isn’t nearly as brisk. The number of new developments and a significant number of foreign investors, looking to rent their units, has flooded the market. In a newer building there dozens of similar suites available for lease at the same time. In more established condo buildings there are usually a couple similar suites on the market at the same time. For tenants the condo rental market offers excellent choice and rents that can usually be negotiated slightly.

Timing and possession can be tricky when looking for a rental property. If a home is vacant, most landlords prefer immediate possession. For anyone who is already renting, offering this can be difficult and expensive, if 60 days notice is required to terminate your existing rental. In the same breath, I do not recommend you give notice in advance of finding a suitable rental. Although most tenants find something that fits their needs, it is very stressful to know that being homeless is only a matter of a few weeks away. (Rest assured, Joy and I have a number of short term properties/agencies we recommend, but it is inconvenient and costly to move twice, store furniture, etc) Best advice is to casually look at rentals well in advance of when you intend to move. Get familiar with neighbourhoods, affordability and amenities, so you can make a quick decision when the right rental comes along.

I must say the majority of our rental business come from the referral of past clients.  More often than not, it is the out of town referrals that benefit from the service of a realtor. In 1 or 2 days we are usually able to tour different neighbourhoods, see all available listings, make a decision and get a lease signed.  The referral of your friends, family members and co-workers is always appreciated, so please keep our services top of mind on any relocation!